My PhD research focuses on internal displacement, local conflict dynamics, and territorial control in civil wars. I try to understand how armed actors in civil wars respond to the movement of different population groups within the conflict zone and how this affects patterns of violence against civilians. More broadly, I want to understand when and how civilians make their choices to flee, how we can predict the resulting patterns of forced migration, and what impact these population movements have on conflicts and post-conflict situations. I predominantly use quantitative methods - such as spatial statistics and machine learning - to explain spatial and temporal patterns of violence in civil wars.
I am a member of the Department’s Conflict and Change research group and the PhD network of UCL’s Migration Research Unit . I completed a MSc in Security Studies at UCL and a BA in Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz, Germany.
I am interested in two main research areas: First, I am to understand local patterns of violence and fighting during civil wars. My PhD project for example investigates how violence against civilians spreads in the context of the Iraqi civil war against the Islamic State. In other projects, I leverage spatial event data to explore how territorial takeovers by rebels affect micro-level dynamics of violence.
Second, I am interested in the dynamics of transnational and internal displacement. This research interest not only involves analysing the movement patterns of displaced populations but also assessing the social and political consequences of these population relocations. I aim to understand how internal displacement affects territorial control by armed actors in civil wars, how cycles of repeated displacement and violence emerge, and under which conditions civilians return to their places of origin.
For more information:
Dissertation research : How do armed actors respond to population movements during civil wars?
Territorial takeover and event data : Do rebels target civilians as part of the process of establishing control in newly captured territory?
IDP hosting preferences : How does past exposure to violence and displacement affect the willigness to help others by hosting displaced persons?
Oswald, Christian, Melanie Sauter, Sigrid Weber, and Rob Williams. 2020. “Under the Roof of Rebels: Civilian Targeting After Territorial Takeover in Sierra Leone.” International Studies Quarterly 64 (2): 295–305. Article , Blog post , Request access.
Hartman, Alexandra, Benjamin Morse and Sigrid Weber. “Violence, Displacement and Support for Internally Displaced People: Evidence from Syria”. Under review.
I am a post-graduate teaching assistant for the second-year undergraduate module “International Security” at the UCL Department of Political Science. I also support the teaching of quantitative methods for master students at UCL with workshops on data manipulation in R.
I have previously taught several undergraduate classes as teaching assistant at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Konstanz: